And another reason I love Los Angeles: hot water.
About a week ago, the hot water stopped. Just stopped coming. I called the Gas Company, and the guy was here within an hour. He looked, and said it needed a major part, and a plumber.
I washed the dishes with cold water, and for a shampoo, heated a big pot on the stove, mixed in cold, and poured it over me, “Like Water for Chocolate.”
Then I called the landlord. She called the plumber, who came, looked, ordered the part. The part had to be overnighted from somewhere else. It arrived the next morning, and by the next night, I was soaking.
The whole shebang was about 36 hours, total.
The things that Americans of my generation take for granted.
Let me remind you: this time last year, I lived in the dismal sticks. Sometime in the late fall, the furnace crapped out in the northern house. It was 20 degrees outside, and sleeting drizzle under bruised black skies.
The guy came, after several calls and several days. He informed me that the furnace had never been installed properly. And since I was gunning the settings to “Thaw, Since I Don’t Get Hot Flashes”, it had indeed melted the PVC piping. That was the tip-off that something was terribly wrong: the smell of burning rubber throughout that hideous ghostly barn.
A new furnace– not merely a new part– had to be ordered. To the tune of $4K.
And the cold leaked in through the cheap single pane windows, around the warped moldings, under the swollen doors, through the uninsulated walls.
I could see ice-crystals on my breath inside the house. My love and I slept in all of our winter clothes, beneath goosedown and Pendleton woolens. The cats knotted fiercely at our feet for warmth, and I heaped sweaters over them in the dark.
There was no hotel, no restaurant. A blend of “Deliverance”, “The Shining”, and the Donner party.
This went on for 16, 17 days. Until Jethro and Cleophus could figure out how to work the talking-box and order the damn heater.
So, lucky thing that I have hot water again. I require regular chamomile soaks. A few days ago, I received a direct blow from a horse’s hoof, mid-thigh. Had it been my knee, I would be hobbling in a cast. The horse got spooked as I walked her along a trail which parallels the freeway– a fact of life in Los Angeles.
The bruise is the size of a legal pad, opaque indigo.
But that is a tale for another winter’s evening.